This episode of C4's music series Homegrown Profiles looks at the long career of New Zealand heavy rock's favourite sons Shihad. Singer Jon Toogood talks frankly about the band's highs and lows, from forming at Wellington High School to the release of Love is the New Hate in 2005 (when this was made). In a sometimes brutally honest self-appraisal, Toogood talks about the band's success in Australia being tempered with too much drug-taking and ego, their ill-fated name change, and the great American dream that didn't quite work out as planned.
Eclectic trio TrinityRoots forged a reputation as an unmissable live act, with Warren Maxwell (Arts Laureate, frontman for Little Bushman) leading the surge towards rapture. The band mined reggae, soul, jazz and rock to create their own distinctive feel. The sound was first captured on an EP and two albums of indigenous downbeat classics: 2001's True and 2004's Home, Land and Sea, and in the epic farewell performance promo for 'Home, Land and Sea' from 2005. "From the tail of the fish..." Trinity Roots reformed in 2010 for further albums; original percussionist Riki Gooch departed the following year.
First noticed at the beginning of the new millennium thanks to quirky single, 'Green', alt-rockers Goodshirt — made up of brothers Rodney and Murray Fisher, and Gareth Thomas and Mike Beehre — released their first album, Good, in 2001. It fuelled several clever videos and the number one hit single, 'Sophie', which took away Single and Songwriter of the Year at the 2003 NZ Music Awards. Good went on to be released in Australia, Canada and Japan. Fiji Baby followed in 2004, throwing up the hits ‘Buck It Up' and ‘Lucy'. The band made a lowkey return in 2012 with single 'So Charming' and EP Skinny Mirror.
From Shihad’s first album Churn, the video for 'Derail' is a dark and unsettling affair, recasting everyday Kiwi pursuits in a tense, almost disturbing manner. It’s directed by ex-Supergroover Joe Fisher (now known as Joe Lonie), who marries their dissonant riffs and twisted time signatures to black and white footage of horse racing and punters at the track. Added to the kiwiana gothic mix is some serious looking gumboot tossing, churches and religious imagery: cows and power pylons, golf, bumper boats, roller coasters and dodgems.
Rodney Fisher and Gareth Thomas from Auckland band Goodshirt preach a DIY message, in this episode from a series directed at secondary school music students. In the backyard of the house where they made their debut album, they perform stripped back versions of 'Slippy' (inspired by a Grey Lynn bus ride) and 'Blowing Dirt'. There's also a guided tour of the back shed where they built a recording studio with accessibly priced equipment that was good enough to produce a chart topping single in 'Sophie' — and stop them going into debt to a record company.
This 2014 single comes from Nobody / Everybody, the sophomore album by Kiwi guitar pop outfit Clap Clap Riot. Coming a couple of years after ballet psychodrama Black Swan (2010), the video concentrates on a ballet dancer who eventually pirouettes into an alternative reality; from the dance floor to submarine world and a pine forest, where a prone Stephen Heard is doing the singing. The promo was created by director Karlie Fisher and cinematographer Jeremy Toth. Kody Nielson (Mint Chicks, Opossum) produced the song.
Set in a Grey Lynn fish'n'chip shop, this clip delivers a killer kai moana concept, when it's revealed that the greasy takeaway is merely a front for the club downstairs. Winner of Best Music Video at the 2006 Vodafone NZ Music Awards, the video features a host of cameos in addition to the members of Fat Freddy's Drop: including Danielle Cormack, Ladi6, John Campbell and Carol Hirschfeld. It was directed by Mark 'Slave' Williams, sometime MC for the band. The track was part of Fat Freddy's first studio album Based on a True Story, one of the biggest-selling in Kiwi history.
National treasures The Topp Twins (aka twins Lynda and Jools Topp) have performed as a country-music singing and yodelling comedy duo for more than 25 years. In the late 90s they created their own TV series which ran for three seasons and showcased their iconic cast of Kiwi characters, including Camp Mother, the Bowling Ladies and cross-dressing Ken and Ken. The series, travelling from a Highland Games to a Tauranga triathlon, won the twins - out-and-proud lesbians - several gongs at the NZ Film and TV Awards and screened on the ABC and Foxtel in Australia.
Composer/arranger Victoria Kelly studied music at Auckland University, and film composition at LA's University of Southern California. Since then her eclectic, award-nominated CV of soundtracks has tended to the dark or fantastical (Out of the Blue, The Ugly, Black Sheep). In 2007 Kelly won a NZ Screen Award for TV's Maddigan's Quest; in 2011 she was appointed musical director for the Rugby World Cup opening ceremony.
Clive Cockburn has composed music for a host of Kiwi television shows, and the occasional movie. Since devoting himself to soundtrack work in the early 80s, Cockburn has provided sounds for iconic programmes from Wild South and Country Calendar, to the theme for the TV One news.